Dharamshala: 27 May 2009: According to reliable information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), Chinese authority in Chamdo sentenced six Tibetan monks to varying prison terms on 22 May 2009.
Earlier on 5 January 2009, a bomb blast took place in Choekor Township, Jomda County, Chamdo Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region ( TAR ). The bomb blast incident was followed by few sporadic protests in the area. Few days later, six monks of Dhen Choekor Monastery were arrested on 9 and 10 January 2009 in Jomda County for staging protest demonstration.
Sources told TCHRD that the prime reason for monks arrest was their suspicious role in the bomb blast. The court trial commenced in Jomda County People s Court on 22 May 2009, the court convicted monks with various offenses of the bomb blast, taking part in protests, committing political crimes and the refusal to sign document denouncing the Dalai Lama as a separatist and anti-China force .
On 22 May 2009, Jomda County People s Court sentenced the six monks with varying prison terms. Six monks were identified as abbot Tenzin Gyaltsen, 37, Nyi-chig, 50, ex-treasurer Ngawang Tashi, 51, Tashi Dorjee, 30, all received 15 years of rigorous imprisonment. Chant Master Jamyang Sherab, 42 was sentenced to 13 years and Tsering Palden, 36, was sentenced to 12 years of rigorous imprisonment.
Little is known about the court proceedings, as whether the accused received free and fair trials as well as getting adequate legal representation and defense. The TCHRD expresses serious concern about the sentencing of the monks and urges the Chinese government to undertake a fresh look at the harsh sentences handed over to the monks.